The remainder of the book was written by Gary Goodell and covers ideas about church, gatherings, and community. As I said before, this portion of the book reminded me a lot of the book Exiles.
The first section he wrote about worship was a very different focus than Michael Frost’s approach in Exiles. The gist of Michael’s message was that while worship is important, that service to others as an expression of our worship is something that we have neglected. Gary’s focus on worship is on the importance of having gatherings that are solely devoted to spending intimate, spontaneous, unhurried time in God’s presence together. I would just have to say that I agree with both of them.
Gary spends several chapters explaining why gatherings should be more participatory. He argues that the one-hour, sermon-centered meeting does little to equip and disciple others. He suggests moving away from this model of meeting and gives helpful encouragement and ideas for creating more participatory gatherings. This is just a taste of some really important thoughts that he shared about church. I think that his ideas would be especially helpful to an existing church or leader that wants to change their meetings for more active involvement.
Near the end of the book, he mentions an idea that is intriguing to me and that I have not seen discussed elsewhere. He talks about regional meetings. They are larger corporate meetings, perhaps monthly, for the purpose of worship and fellowship.
“These meetings are not about the meetings, but about the bringing together of the wonderful variety of groups and ministries within our region. It is the coming together of these uniquely different expressions of the Body of Christ that make these meetings so different and so exciting.”
The meetings would be a wonderful collective experience for simple churches in the area. However, it would be great if other believers in the area were also involved for the purpose of breaking out of our isolated groups and embracing one another as the body of Christ in our area.
There would be nothing to join, but rather believers would be encouraged to participate in their regular church community, whatever model that happened to be. The purpose of the regional meeting would be for hubbing and connecting believers in a particular locality. Ideally, it would not only provide the opportunity for fellowship but also for connecting with others in the pursuit of various missional opportunities.
Doable? I don’t know. Intriguing? Definitely.